23 August 2008

In recent months, there have been numerous documentaries and magazine articles reporting on the stories of people who’ve resorted to surgical procedures to help them lose weight. Although many people will be familiar with the terms gastric bypass surgery and weight loss surgery, the terms bariatric weight loss surgery and bariatric surgery may be less familiar.

The term bariatrics was coined in the mid 1960s from the Greek root baro (meaning weight) and the suffix -iatrics (a branch of medicine) and bariatrics deals principally with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity.

The number of people who are having surgery is rising rapidly. Figures from the British Obesity Surgery Patient Association reveal that UK surgeons performed more than 4,300 surgical operations for weight loss in 2005 – almost double the number of 2004.

From this it follows that the surgical treatment of obesity (or perhaps more correctly morbid obesity) is now often referred to as bariatric surgery which is performed by a bariatric surgeon.
Operations for obesity are not a miracle cure to help people shift a few unwanted pounds and should not be considered to be similar to cosmetic surgery. They are a last resort for people who have severe health problems due to their excessive weight. All surgery comes with risks and these risks are even greater for people who are obese, so any procedure should be given plenty of thought and not be undertaken lightly.

Before undergoing surgery you should be properly prepared and understand both the risks and the benefits, both in the short and long term.

The type of operation you have will help to determine how much weight you will lose. But ultimately, a big part of the success of any of the treatments will depend upon your willingness to change your eating and lifestyle habits. Don’t ever think if having a weight loss operation means you don’t have to diet or exercise again.

Surgery means they will be on a life-long restricted eating plan that allows only small amounts of food. Large meals, loads of snacks and lots of fatty and sugary foods will continue to be off the menu.

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